Canadian ferry operator Societe des traversiers du Quebec (STQ) has ordered what is expected to be the first ferry in North America to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Wartsila was awarded the contract to supply the gas-powered propulsion machinery and corresponding gas storage and handling systems for the new passenger ferry. The ship is being built by Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani in Italy and will be used on routes crossing the St. Lawrence River. The vessel is scheduled for delivery by the end of 2014.

“The ferry is being built to comply with the stringent emission regulations applicable to its area of operation,” Wartsila said. Wartsila 34 dual-fuel generating sets will provide the main power generation.

“By operating on LNG, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are at least 85% below those specified in the current International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations, and the CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions are some 25% less than those of a conventional marine engine running on diesel fuel,” Wartsila said. “The sulphur oxide (SOx) and particle emissions are negligible at almost 0%.”

Emissions levels exceed the emission reductions mandated by local regulations as well, Wartsila said. “The IMO has designated some U.S. and Canadian waters as an emissions control area (ECA). This is in line with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The North American ECA became enforceable in August 2012,” Wartsila said.

Wartsila will also supply its LNGPac system offering onboard LNG bunkering, storage tanks and handling equipment, as well as the related safety control and automation systems. All engines can be switched to marine diesel oil operation, should gas not be available.

At 130 meters long and with a capacity for 800 passengers and 180 cars, the new ferry will be much larger and better equipped than the ferry it will replace, said STQ CEO Georges Farrah.

Last month Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd. launched what it said is the world’s first high-speed passenger roll-on-roll-off vehicle ferry powered by LNG. The large catamaran is reputed to be the fastest, environmentally cleanest, most efficient, high speed ferry in the world.

Last summer Royal Dutch Shell plc said it was buying Norway’s, Gasnor AS, which supplies small-scale LNG for the industrial and marine market (see Daily GPI, July 12).

©Copyright 2012Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.